ROME — Looking to revise his clay-court game ahead of Roland Garros, Kei Nishikori defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (5), 6-4 Monday in the first round of the Italian Open.
It was Nishikori’s first victory since reaching the final of the Monte Carlo Masters last month. In his previous two matches, Nishikori retired against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Barcelona and lost to Novak Djokovic in Madrid.
Nishikori hit only 18 winners to Lopez’s 26 but had fewer unforced errors – 19 to 31.
Lopez argued with the chair umpire after losing a point in which he thought the ball bounced twice before Nishikori hit a half volley.
The 24th-ranked Nishikori will next face third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov.
Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, 10th-seeded Pablo Carrena Busta beat Jared Donaldson 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.
In women’s action, Johanna Konta defeated 17th-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-3 to improve to 4-0 in her career against the Slovakian; and Petra Martic beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-2 and will next face defending champion Elina Svitolina.
The French Open starts May 27.
STUTTGART, Germany — Matteo Berrettini beat Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-6 (11) to win the Stuttgart Open and his third tour-level title on Sunday.
The Italian saved five set points in a second-set tiebreaker and clinched his first title on grass. His other titles came at Budapest in April, and Gstaad, Switzerland, last year.
The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime previously reached championship matches in Rio de Janeiro in February and the Lyon Open in May – both on clay.
Berrettini won all 50 of his service games during the week in Stuttgart. He did not face a break point against Auger-Aliassime.
Auger-Aliassime progressed to the final in his first professional grass tournament without playing Saturday as compatriot Milos Raonic withdrew ahead of their semifinal due to back problems.
NOTTINGHAM, England — Former champion Donna Vekic finally got to play on grass at the Nottingham Open on Friday but had to overcome multiple rain delays and another switch indoors before reaching the semifinals.
The second-seeded Vekic defeated Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-4 in a match played on two surfaces as rain again played havoc with the schedule.
The opening two days were completely washed out before organizers decided to switch the first and second rounds indoors as rain fell for four consecutive days.
Vekic, who won the tournament in 2017, will play Germany’s Tatjana Maria in her third straight semifinal in Nottingham. Maria earlier defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the only match completed on grass so far at the tournament.
Also Friday, American Jennifer Brady defeated fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5, 6-3 to set up a semifinal against top-seeded Caroline Garcia.
Garcia rallied to beat Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse 4-6, 7-6, 6-1 in the last quarterfinal.